SOLVED: macOS Catalina freezes at login

I installed the macOS Catalina software update on my MacBook Pro and now it freezes after typing my login password - something I noticed has happened onother forum topics.

I have managed to take a backup via terminal in recovery mode.

I believe the next step is to do a clean install of the beta - how do I go about this, as there are two partitions of my Mac SSD:

  • Macintosh HD
  • Macintosh HD - Data

Do I wipe one or both? And which one do I reinstall macOS to?

All help appreciated.



This is what I’m also confused on. I unfortunately don’t know how to get a backup of all my files and I don’t have access to my desktop because my computer won’t log in. I don’t know if all my data is in the regular HD or the HD data. I’ve even tried trying to reinstall then os but this new update has taken over most of my storage and it’s telling me now that I can’t because my storage it too full. I don’t know how to remove things on my storage with safemode not working and me not having access to login in since it’s stuck on the Apple logo

have since rectified the issue.

You need to mount the hard disk and the data hard disk in disk utility from recovery mode.

And attach an external SSD.

Creating a backup:

Open terminal in recovery and type ditto "/Volumes/<Macintosh HD>/users/<your username>" "/Volumes/<External Disk>/<a folder name>", replacing <Macintosh HD> & <External Disk> with the names of them in the disk utility, <your username> with the name of your user folder, and <a folder name> with the name of a folder that exists on the external disk. This folder can be created by typing into the terminal:

cd "/Volumes/<external disk>"

mkdir <folder name>

Then you need to type

ditto "/Volumes/<Macintosh HD>/Library/Extensions" "/Volumes/<External Disk>/<another folder name>"

rm -rf "/Volumes/<Macintosh HD>/Library/Extensions"

cd "/Volumes/<Macintosh HD>/Library/"

mkdir Extensions

As by removing (but first backing up) kernal extensions, you can use the Mac again.

You will enter your login password, it will hang for a few moments then proceed to going back to the software update.

Hope this helps everyone!

Had similar issue where my mac crashed on login after installing Catalina. Your solution with removing Extenstions folder worked for me. I was able to login and proceed the installation. Thank you so much for posting!

Silly question but you mentioned SSD. Is it necessary or can it be any external hard drive? Does it need to be formatted any particular way? Thank you

That problem is still there. Just saying.

Just an FYI. Catalina splits the startup volume into two distinct APFS volumes. (Example: "mydisk" and "mydisk - Data" .) Think of these as OS-base and OS-data volumes. When running, the base volume is mounted as write-protected and the data volume is write-enabled. Any content the user can change (applications, preferences, etc.) are on the data volume. The base volume contains the kernel and any other pieces Apple does not want modified. Using what Apple calls "firm links", the two volumes appear as one virtual volume (In Unix terms, a union filesystem.) This is an added security measure. However, when you startup from a different volume, you can mount both the base volume and data volume, write-enabled and make changes.

I saw this posted somewhere else and tried it out. You just need to wait. It took 4+ hours to complete the login process.
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